GWU Student Photographers Win Top Awards at Annual Competitions

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Winners Recognized in Series and Single Photo Categories

Dan Hutson works at the Boot Barn on Lower Broadway in Nashville, TN. Coming from Texas, he dreams of being a singer/songwriter but for now he is steaming hats to get by.
Photo by Abbey Sprinkle – Dan Hutson works at the Boot Barn on Lower Broadway in Nashville, Tenn. Coming from Texas, he dreams of being a singer/songwriter but for now he is steaming hats to get by.

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Three students in the Department of Communication and New Media at Gardner-Webb University were recognized recently for their work in photojournalism. Abbey Sprinkle, a communication studies major from Inman, S.C., won the student photography award at the Southeastern Photojournalism Conference (SEPJC). Lindy Lynch and Lisa Michelle Martinat were recognized for entries submitted to the 56th Annual Baptist Communicators Association (BCA) Awards Competition.

Sprinkle’s winning photographs were made during the student workshop sponsored by the SEPJC and held in Nashville, Tenn., in February. Each year, the SEPJC provides the opportunity for visual storytellers all around the world to interact and engage with other professional visual storytellers. The students have an opportunity to share their portfolios and receive feedback from these professionals.

“We were told to go out into the streets of Nashville and find someone to photograph,” Sprinkle said about the contest. “Our assignment was to capture three images of the same subject from different points-of-view.”

She chose to photograph Dan Hutson, who works as a hat steamer while trying to get a break in the music industry. “His favorite part about his job is being able to talk to his customers as he steams their hats,” Sprinkle noted. “My favorite thing about these pictures is that you see the dramatic effect of the steam. I had to wait for the perfect time to capture the steam around his face, the hat, and the neon sign behind him to create an image that grabs your attention. When I won the award, I was truly overwhelmed. There were so many amazing photographers and photographs that were entered in the contest, so when I heard my name I was shocked.”

Jaheam Cornwall, a junior point guard for the GWU men’s basketball team, hugging his opponent, Virginia’s freshman guard Jayden Nixon, after the first round game in the NCAA Tournament.
Photo by Lindy Lynch – Jaheam Cornwall, a junior point guard for the GWU men’s basketball team, hugs his opponent, Virginia’s freshman guard Jayden Nixon, after the first round game in the NCAA Tournament.

Sprinkle appreciates the other photographers who were with her when she took the photos and is grateful to Dr. Bob Carey, professor and chair of communication studies, for the guidance he gives students. “The amazing photographers I had with me were encouraging me, coaching me, and mentoring me as I was shooting these pictures,” she affirmed. “I learned so much from all of the photographers at the conference. I cannot thank Dr. Carey enough for this amazing opportunity to go to this conference, and for the many years of teaching he has poured into me.”

The BCA competition is designed to encourage professional excellence among students and to recognize those who have done exemplary work. Lynch, a photojournalism major from Anderson, S.C., took first place in the single photo category for her picture from the Gardner-Webb men’s basketball team’s first appearance in the 2019 NCAA tournament.

The photo features Jaheam Cornwall, a junior point guard for the GWU men’s basketball team, hugging his opponent, Virginia’s freshman guard Jayden Nixon, after the game. “As a photographer, this photo means a lot to me because covering this game showed me that I am exactly where God intended me to be when I am shooting sports,” Lynch stated. “I am on the student photo staff for Gardner-Webb, and we cover a wide variety of campus events and happenings, but my favorite thing to cover is sports. I went to every single men’s home basketball game in the season leading up to the tournament appearance. After watching the team and capturing their story, I was emotionally invested in their journey. Regardless of the outcome of the NCAA game, I had a seriously defining moment in my life there.”

Martinat, a photojournalism major from Lenoir, N.C., took second place for her photo series titled, “Deaf or Hearing: A Child’s Choice.” The photo story is about GWU Assistant Professor of Music, Dr. Bruce Moser, his wife, Michelle, and their twin daughters, Avery and Annie. When the couple discovered that Avery is Deaf, they had to decide what is in her best interest as she grows into an adult. “I believe that the Mosers had a story to tell that many people, hearing people in particular, need to hear and understand when it comes to raising a deaf child,” Martinat explained. “Oftentimes, when a child is born deaf or becomes deaf at a young age, the parents—whether Deaf or hearing—will make the choice for the child whether she will be a part of either the hearing or Deaf community and culture. In both instances, the Deaf child may feel as though she is missing something in her life and feels like an outcast. Either she doesn’t feel as if she fits into the hearing community because of the hearing aid or cochlear implant or maybe because of a speech impediment, or she has no one to relate to with her deafness and feels as if she is the only one struggling.”

The Mosers decided to give their Deaf daughter, Avery, a cochlear implant, but they did not stop there. Both Michelle and Bruce took the opportunity to learn American Sign Language, so they could teach it to their girls. “The Mosers have given something so incredibly important to Avery: the opportunity to choose where she feels she belongs, either in the deaf community, hearing community, or both,” Martinat asserted. “My favorite photo in this series would be the one with Michelle signing the word CAT while Annie, Avery, and Dr. Moser look on. I think the energy and excitement that both Michelle and Bruce show in this image and the way that Michelle is looking at Avery shows how much they care for their daughters and how excited they are to be teaching them.”

Michelle Moser reads and signs the word CAT, while twin daughters, Annie and Avery, and husband and father, Dr. Bruce Moser look on.
Photo by Lisa Martinat – Michelle Moser reads and signs the word CAT, while twin daughters, Annie and Avery, and husband and father, Dr. Bruce Moser look on.

Learn more about the Department of Communication and New Media.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.